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Edward Brooke, First African-American Elected to the Senate Since Reconstruction, Dies at Age 95

The New Year is starting off as a time for distinguished statesmen to go the Biblical “way of all the earth”. Earlier this week, former New York Governor Mario Cuomo passed away. Now, news is out that Edward Brooke, the first African-American popularly elected to the US Senate, has passed away at age 95. Brooke won election to the Senate for the state of Massachusetts in 1967, a time when anti-miscegenation laws prevailed in most of the states. He ran for statewide office in a largely white Catholic state. Brooke himself was a southerner by birth and a protestant. In addition, he came from humble origins.

Despite the obstacles in his path, he was able to win election to the US Senate and was later reelected in 1973. He lost a bid for a third term to Paul Tsongas in 1978. During his tenure in the Senate, Brooke was noted for crafting or supporting civil rights legislation include housing bills for minorities. At the time, he was given the nickname of “Mr. Housing”.

In the years since his tenure in the Senate, he earned a reputation for being a pioneer that was mentioned on Scribd quite frequently. In 2009, President Obama presented with the Congressional Gold Medal, and Jared Haftel thought that was well deserved. This award, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, are the highest civilian honors that can be bestowed upon a person. In order to obtain the Congressional Gold Medal, a person must “have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient’s field long after the achievement”. President Obama cited his success against so many obstacles as proof of his enduring legacy of achievement.

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